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  • Cheating & Unconditional Love

    21 posts, 16 voices, 4193 views, started Dec 4, 2008

    Posted on Thursday, December 4, 2008 by Rebecca Deos

    •  



    • Aquamarine
      Offline

      I’m suprised at the number of conversations and concern about cheating husbands, and the effects on a relationship to fill it with conditions.

       For me, marriage is more than an agreement, its a partnership and friendship that can offer something great, unconditional love. But how is unconditional love possible, if all we offer in return is love with conditions or stipulations?

       I’m not condoning cheating, or failing to realize that there are people out there who are so self centered that their own desires rule their thinking. But I do think that offering conditional love limits what we recieve in return.

       There is a reason that all major religions use the analogy of marriage when it comes to a relationship with God. Marriage is the closest relationship that one can share, and so religions use marriage to point out the similarities of love, intimacy and fulfilment. And most religions offer the prosepct of unconditional love with God, a relationship that says “If you stumble, I will still be here for you, will forgive you, and continue to love you.”

       What we know about human nature is that tempation can be fueled further by having a forbidden aspect to it. It’s why many Christians believe that Jesus’ sermon on the Mount threw out the rules, and replaced the rules with love. The rules and laws were making unsavorable acitivities more enticing.

       Laws and rules push a persons feelings and emotions further inside making them harder to understand and process. If you can’t talk about it or share it, it festers, and can not get resolved. Or it does get resolved without the input of the person making the rules. Nobody is going to approach the law maker and ask how close they are to breaking the law.

       Similarly to religion, unconditional love isn’t permission to act badly. Having a God that will forgive still holds people accountable, while telling them “You may stumble, but I know you are capable of greatness.”

        As adults, we have all find ourselves in the position where we find ourselves attracted to someone of the opposite sex, whether its a coworker, neighbor or friend. It’s part of being human, and being married does not shut off that part of our nature.

       And if my husband were to find himself in that position, being attracted to a coworker or thinking something emotional might be developing, I want to be his friend. I want to be the one that he comes to and says “I’m a little confused. Shelia at work has been super nice and I’m really liking the attention.” I’m his partner and friend, and I want to be the person he confides in. I’m not going to judge him, or see it as a reflection on me. He is entitled to his own feelings, and his own process of dealing with them.

       Knowing that I love him unconditonally, he shares with me more than most husbands typically do. There’s no judgement, just a mutual respect for our feelings and desires. He is free to open up to me, knowing that there is no rule or line to cross that will drive me away. It brings us closer.

       He doesn’t see this as an opportunity or free pass. He knows that certain actions will hurt me, and is aware of the gift of unconditional love, and cherishes it.

       We didn’t get here overnight. But we are each other’s best friend. We enjoy our time together, and would rather spend a Friday night together than with anyone else. Not bad after 21 years together.



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        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          Robinesque wrote Dec 4, 2008
        • ” And if my husband were to find himself in that position, being attracted to a coworker or thinking something emotional might be developing, I want to be his friend. I want to be the one that he comes to and says "I'm a little confused. Shelia at work has been super nice and I'm really liking the attention." I'm his partner and friend, and I want to be the person he confides in. I'm not going to judge him, or see it as a reflection on me. He is entitled to his own feelings, and his own process of dealing with them.”

          I was with you up until that point.  What MAN is going to do this?  For that matter, what woman (to her husband)?  NO repercussions?

          Sorry.  But, that is not in my reality check book.



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        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          Rebecca Deos wrote Dec 4, 2008
        • I actually had a discussion like that about 6 years ago with my husband. It was a work situation, nothing happened, and he was beginning to find a woman at work attractive, and was starting go do little things, like make sure he looked nice when walking into her office, etc.

           He did tell me, and to be honest, it was a little uncomfortable for me, but we talked about it, and he worked through what was going on. It was actually a very intimate type of sharing. And it doesnt make him less of a MAN for sharing, quite the opposite actually.

           I think its much better to be his support system then to have him turn to someone else



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          Almostfive0 wrote Dec 4, 2008
        • Thank you for your post rebecca.

          I think every marriage is different and that each marriage should be governed by that couple.

          I think a lot of people base the decisions they make in their relationships not on unconditional love but what they have learned from what society and religion have taught them.

          Any relationship whether it be between a husband and wife, parent and child, or two friends should be one of mutual respect, unconditional love and the knowledge that we are all here to learn and grow.

          “Mistakes” are one way that we grow. A relationship built on control and fear of not being able to express ones true feelings to the other does not foster growth.



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          Feathermaye wrote Dec 4, 2008
        • I’ve always said to my s/o’s, “If I intend to cheat, you’ll be the first to know.”

          As much as I might be bothered by a trusted partner coming to me with thoughts or inclinations of infidelity, I would overall respect that he trusted me enough and respected our relationship enough to bring it to light before making a bad decision.

          In my own reality, though, that bad decision is much more likely to just be made, with no seeking of input from me. I don’t believe anyone can be unfaithful and call it “a mistake“.

          For me, and my relationships, I would never be able to rebuild a trust that has been disregarded so blatantly.



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          Leadinladytracy wrote Dec 4, 2008
        • Rebecca I consider it a blessing that your husband told you about his co-worker. That means he feels comfortable to come to you about anything. That is awesome communication.  

          I am glad the two of you were able to work it out.



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          Dee Dee Shaw wrote Dec 4, 2008
        • Rebecca,
          It sounds like you and your husband have an incredible relationship. One that most people dream of!
          I am not at all sure how I would handle it if my husband was unfaithful. I have always said that it would be over, period. I am a forgiving person, but I don’t think I am big enough to reconcile if he was unfaithful.

          I can honestly say that, though I love him unconditionally, our marriage is not unconditional. We made vows, signed a covenant, and committed to abide by it. I think there is a reason that God allows divorce under the condition of infidelity. Being unfaithful is more than just abusing your trust. It is so much deeper than that. When someone is unfaithful they do more than violate your trust. They violate you physically, emotionally, spiritually.  

          I think the analogy used in the movie Fireproof was very vivid. A salt and pepper shaker were glued together (man and wife). To try to separate them would destroy, at least one of them, possibly both. In the movie, they were referring to divorce, but I look at infidelity as a form of divorce.  

          Every choice we make results in consequences. Even though God forgives us, we still have to suffer consequences when we choose to do wrong.Unconditionally loving us doesn’t change that. My marriage relationship is no different. That is not conditional love - it is conditional cause-effect.



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          Rebecca Deos wrote Dec 4, 2008
        • Thanks everyone for the great comments.

           I do think everyones relationships are based off their past experiences, upbringing, religion, and many more voices in our heads LOL

           And any betrayal is painful. We have a friend that went through a situation last year.

           Things were bad at home, and he was soon in a one-night-stand situation. We were out to lunch, and what he said struck me. He said that not only did he regret it, but not for the rest of his life, he was one of “those” guys, the ones that have affairs. He admitted it wasnt worth it, and it deeply impacted how he saw himself, and the type of man he thought he was.



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          Daphne wrote Dec 4, 2008
        • Rebecca, while i agree with some of your philosohy regarding a good relationship/marriage...consider this:  

          How can a marriage be considered unconditional when you stand before your family and friends (or clergy and witnesses, whatever the case may be), agreeing to the “conditions” of the union?  I.E. Love, Honor, Cherish.  The conditions are in place before the marriage begins.



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          Amy L. Harden wrote Dec 4, 2008
        • rebecca:

          You have a very special marriage.  Both of you have done well in communicating and staying in touch.  Your husband is truly your friend, as you are to him.    

          In another thread you said you didn’t believe in deal breakers...there was no place for deal breakers in unconditional love...am I correct in this understanding?

          Well, I guess it all depends what or how you define the deal breaker and its consequences, doesn’t it?

          I see a deal breaker of sorts in your article above the only thing that may be different than other people IS the consequence for cheating in your marriage is that the other partner would be dreadfully hurt and both of you have agreed that this boundary should never be crossed because the last thing the two of you would ever want to do is hurt each other.  The two of you are confident in this because over time you have proven to one another that you are good for your word...your trust and respect factor are extremely high because you do, indeed love each unconditionally.  This is why the two of you do feel safe with one another.  You have not given each other cause to think otherwise.  You have built a marriage around great respect, trust, love and friendship....your marriage doesn’t need an extreme deal breaker /consequence to keep the two of you in line.  The unconditional love that you show toward one another is being rewarded...you are extremely blessed!

          But the truth IS that many, if not most marriages today are not as strong as yours.  Firm boundaries and deal breakers have to be set in some marriages because many people have not seen what that looks like in their own parent's marriage or in others around them.  Your marriage is not the norm...it is the exception...I am afraid.  The personalities within the marriage are very well adjusted; healthy and positive toward one another...again...this is not the norm.  

          IMHO...you have been blessed with an ideal marriage...one that I aspire to and after much hard work and mistakes, I do have now.  I do, unconditionally love my husband, as he does me...but we have set boundaries and deal breakers, because there was a time when these were unsaid...or set...they were tested, even crossed....it almost destroyed our family.   I believe because a person unconditionally loves another...you must set or know them from the beginning.  They can not be left unspoken or assumed...it is in the unknown or questionable that you will be tested....

          Christ did not necessarily throw out the Law on the Sermon on the Mount...He brought it back to the original intent...He washed it clean of the exaggerations, additions and ridiculousness of what it had become over the years.  He brought it back to love, so it would be meaningful, powerful and give opportunity to those who would listen to have the keys to the Kingdom.  There are guidelines to follow...Christ defines love, what it looks like and acts like...maybe this is what I mean when I say boundaries and deal breakers.  When you state to your spouse...this is what unconditionally love looks like to me...you are also telling them what will hurt you and what won't.  The guarantee of unconditional love is that you will forgive them no matter what they do to step out of your expectations or definition...you will not take the chance of hurting them...because you place the other above yourself.



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          Bobbi Bacha wrote Dec 4, 2008
        • Any relationship, especially marriage is based upon trust, I do agree that each partner in that trust should be equal and open with each other.  If you cant have an equal relationship eventually the marriage will break as one person is not giving enough to the marriage, and Trust is a deal breaker too.

          I agree with emacks, that Unconditional may be a word reserved for love of God, family, etc.

          I would never unconditonally trust a mate.  Otherwise why marry if the relationship is open ?  Shepperdess is correct about setting some boundaries of what would hurt your mate.

          Happy momma said it perfect to love your spouce unconditionally but the marriage is not with out condition.

          Rebecca Im glad you and your husband overcame the infidelity.  I know it hurts.  But he was good to tell you the truth.

          I hear so much of open marriages and when your open a marriage, the marriage is really no longer between two people.  I always see those marriages end in a bad way.



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        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          Rebecca Deos wrote Dec 4, 2008
        • I’m the first to admit that my circumstance is not the norm, in many aspects of my life. I think I have tapped into something special, and would love to share the trials and tribulations of how we got where we are.

           One point quickly I just thought of though. The majority of our friends are married for a length of time. Some are much older than us, but I do think that suppounding yourself with other happily married couples is important.



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        • 0 votes vote up vote up

          Michelle Bodycombe wrote Dec 4, 2008
        • Rebecca! Your circumstance is not the norm...but, it’s not completely foreign either.

          I cannot imagine not loving my husband...regardless of what he may or may not do.



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          Dee Dee Shaw wrote Dec 4, 2008
        • I’ll have to chime in again and say, it is not the norm, but it should be. We live in a day and age filled with broken marriages. I realize and grant that some of them dissolve for legitimate reasons, but many are just because the couple decides they are tired of trying, or have irreconcilable differences. Love is a choice, not merely an emotion. I went to a conference years ago, and the principles that were taught will follow me to my grave. It was simple.
          Actions follow feelings.
          Feelings follow thoughts.
          Control your thoughts, and you can control your feelings. Your actions speak your thoughts out loud for the world to hear.
          That was so profound for me. It made “taking your thoughts captive” have a whole new meaning, and it helped me to understand how reality really equals our perception of reality. We come to that perception via our thoughts. So - we can create our reality simply by controling our thoughts.
          How does this all apply? Well, in marriage, it is easy to let angry thoughts take us captive. I’d be the first to go to thought jail if my husband cheated on me. But, because of the relationship we have, I don’t expect that to ever happen. If we are strong enough to take our thoughts captive, then we can overcome anything... even infidelity. I just don’t think I’d want to and am glad that I don’t have to be that big!



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          Dennie05 wrote Dec 4, 2008
        • Rebecca, I like how you think.....I am not one to knee/jerk with a decision that can so drastically affect a life and many other people. I think once trust in a relationship is betrayed...it is a long and hard road to rebuild...but it can be done.  Marriage counselling is very helpful....having someone who is unbiased...who doesn’t have any interest in the relationship; who is there only  to help sort our emotions and problems. I think marriage is too easily terminated.....it is very hard work and LOTS of giving and taking.  It sometimes feels like you are the only one giving at times.  Have you ever heard that loving your spouse is the best gift you can give your children?  I have heard that...and I think it is true.  I know I would do anything for my kids.  (When there is abuse, drug and alcohol addiction/abuse, or endangerment...than I don’t think that these are acceptable and different rules apply).  I don’t know if I am making sense or not????



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